Remember The Everyday Sedan?

2024 Hyundai Elantra Preferred w/Tech Package

Price: $26,243 CAD

Colour: Ultimate Red

When I was growing up my world was populated by economy minded sedans. Everyone I knew had one. It was the car we’d borrow on a Friday night when we were looking to get into trouble but wanted to fly under the radar. Nobody looked twice at the four hooligans packed into moms 1997 Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla. The swanky kids of course had Camry’s and Accords, but they were the enemy. We were Corolla Kids and were damn proud of it. There were cooler cars like the Acura Integra or Honda Civic Si and I loved them all. They were however elusive and rare. The 4-door sedan was always there. It was our true passport to freedom. As a culture we have since moved on to far more sophisticated fare and I’m not one to stand in the face of progress. Every once in a while though, I’m reminded of those halcyon days of my youth when something like the 2024 Hyundai Elantra comes across my driveway. I’m carried away, back to a time when the clothes were neon, the hairspray was rock hard and Clearasil was plentiful.

It’s just not that common anymore for people to buy a basic 4-door sedan. It must be said that while I love the Corollas of old, they weren’t exactly pretty things. They were functional and built to get the job done, not win beauty contests. For those manufacturers still making basic sedans things have improved immensely in the looks department. While the Corolla is still deeply conservative even it has gotten much better looking. Meanwhile the Honda Civic is nearly pretty and the same can be said for the current Elantra. It’s a curious looking thing on first glance. It comes with the pre-dented look I so enjoyed on the Hyundai Tucson a few years back. It makes that first dent on a new car not so painful. You’d barely notice really.

The interior of the Elantra is also a vast improvement over the econo-boxes of yester year. It’s a nice place to be. The seats are comfortable and the cockpit is very driver focused. Not a lot of vehicles wrap the console around the driver, but the Elantra does. Everything is pointed right at you as you and it reminds me of how BMW used to do it. The interior materials and construction of the Elantra are also excellent. You get a slightly older version of Hyundai’s infotainment system but it’s all here. The screen is a good size and it’s a touch screen. The back up camera (no 360 on this simple beast) is clear and represents well on the screen. That’s sort of where it stops with the Elantra. This mid-range Preferred model doesn’t even come with a powered driver’s seat. Given the price point of this car I’m very content with that compromise.

I was stunned at how smooth the Elantra was to drive. Combine that with the surprisingly quiet cabin and you have a winning driving experience. I had modest expectations for the Elantra and it impressed me from word go. The Elantra also handles well for what it is. Given that the 2.0L 4-cylinder engine only gives us 147hp and 132 lb/ft of torque, I expected it to go nowhere when you put your foot down. Again, the Elantra surprises. It isn’t a kidney kicker or anything, but it accelerates better than it should.

Fuel economy can be a disappointing topic to discuss. Manufacturers publish some pretty lofty numbers for modern cars and Hyundai is no different with the Elantra. They say it will do 6.7L/100kms Hwy, 7.6L/100 kms in the city for a combined fuel economy of 8.4L/100kms. For the first time in a long time I can say this is pretty much dead on. After nearly 500kms behind the wheel I show a current fuel economy figure of 8.2L/100kms. This reflects a proper mix of city and highway driving. My highway figure got as low as 6.8L/100kms on a jaunt to go see my mother. This is very impressive as it means the Elantra’s 47 liter fuel tank will take you quite the distance before you need to fill it up. 

The ever-increasing costs of new cars is making it harder and harder to justify the purchase. It also used to be that if you didn’t demand every bell and whistle you could get a new car for an affordable price. This is something that you really struggle to find in the SUV side of things. In sedans however, there are still affordable options to be found. The Elantra starts at just over $21,000 CAD. At that price it still comes decently equipped and if you’re willing to spend another 5 grand you can get something like the Preferred model with everything you really need. You even get a sunroof. This makes the Elantra one of the truly best value vehicles on offer today.

I don’t get out on many Friday nights anymore. Age, family and a strong predilection to an 8:30pm bedtime means I skip those activities that so typified my youth. If I do decide however to slam a Rock Star and a triple Espresso and then head out into the inky blackness of the post 9:00pm world, I’d love to do it in the Elantra. I can cruise around in an obvious and conformist SUV anytime. For me, rocking out to the collected works of NWA and Queen while cruising the city streets requires something else entirely.

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